Cannabis is an illegal recreational drug but has increasing support of some U.S. states and European nations for its medicinal values. Cannabis, also known as marijuana, contains THC, a substance that binds to the brain's receptors. The chief medicinal effects of THC are due to its ability to mimic the body's own pain-fighting substances, according to a 2009 article reported by Science Daily. Cannabis can be smoked, but this in itself has health concerns, as marijuana smoke has tars and toxins just like tobacco smoke. A more healthful way to take medical marijuana involves vaporization or in a "tea" which is actually an alcohol-based tincture.
Reduces Chronic Pain
The main reason why patients take cannabis is for its ability to reduce chronic pain. For those suffering from conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis or AIDS, cannabis relieves pain and the mental anxiety that comes with constant body pain.
For patients dealing with chronic pain and end-of-life care, cannabis also can reduce anxiety and increase feelings of well-being.
Cannabis also reduces nausea, a debilitating side-effect of the drugs, including chemotherapy, used to treat life-threatening diseases. Stimulating appetite is another related effect of cannabis that can prevent weigh-loss of patients undergoing taxing chemotherapy sessions or suffering from AIDS.
May Treat Autoimmune Diseases
Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and irritable bowel syndrome may be modified by treatment with cannaboids, according to Paul Armentano, director of Norml, a group seeking to reform marijuana laws. More research is needed, however.